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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 05-06-15

The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <>


  • [01] Battle in Brussels
  • [02] Summit Meeting at the Focus
  • [03] Freezing is a "Consensual Solution"
  • [04] From the Internet to your Cell Phone
  • [05] Strikes Continue
  • [06] Alogoskoufis Briefs the President
  • [07] No Room for Corruption
  • [08] Sailing Boat Passengers Missing
  • [09] Multi-Fatality Suicide Attack
  • [10] They Generated Brain Cells
  • [11] Lucky Offender
  • [12] 'No' to Sewage Sludge
  • [13] Turkey Case to the Prosecutor
  • [14] Developments in the Samina Trial
  • [15] Emergency Helicopter Landing

  • [01] EU Constitution and Fiscal Affairs Cause Rifts Battle in Brussels

    15 Jun 2005 18:29:00

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    The EU Summit Meeting is taking place on Thursday and Friday, under the shadow of the French and Dutch No for the EU Constitution, as well as the unbridgeable differences between Britain and France over the EU Budget. The statements made by the acting EU President, Luxemburgs PM Jean Claude Juncker, are indicative of the climate that is prevailing. Mr Juncker appeared almost certain that no agreement would be reached for the 2007-2013 Budget. At the same time, the ratification of the EU Constitution seems to be troubling the 25 leaders, while the President of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, asked for a temporary freezing of the ratification process. The Summit proceedings will begin on Thursday at 18:00 (Greek local time), while it has not been clarified when they will end. Actually, as per sources of the Luxemburg presidency, there is a possibility that the Summit may be extended to Saturday.

    Disputes over the Community Funds

    The problems that the 25 EU leaders are called upon to solve mainly involve the amount of Community expenditure for 2007-2013, as well as the redefinition of the contributions of richer States. At the same time, the rift in the French-British relations, on the occasion of the EU Budget, is growing.

    Paris is asking that the rebates to the UK be terminated, while on the other hand, London is setting the reviewing of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and the curbing of farming subsidies as a precondition, raising concerns in many Member-States that benefit from those, including France and Greece.

    Speaking to his Cabinet, French President Jacques Chirac announced that Great Britain would have to receive its proportionate amount from the funding of the enlarged Europe, while he ruled out the possibility of reviewing the CAP. At the same time, speaking to the House of Commons, British PM Tony Blair declared that he would not be changing his stance over the Budget, stressing that London cannot accept the indefinite channeling of 40% of the Budgets expenditures towards farming subsidies.

    Given the situation, the acting EU President predicted that the talks over the fiscal affairs, which will be discussed on Friday, would reach a dead-end. However, speaking to a European Parliament Committee, Mr Juncker did not rule out the possibility of an agreement at the last minute, while he clarified that the CAP would not be reviewed and that he would insist on the freezing of British rebates to 4.6 billion euros in 2007.

    On his part, Mr Barroso urged the 25 leaders to aim at a compromise and to proceed with reviewing the EU Budget towards the end of 2008.

    If an agreement is not reached during the Summit Meeting, then all decisions would be postponed until the second half of 2006, when Britain will be taking over the EU presidency.

    Concerns over the Ratification Process

    Apart from the fiscal affairs, the 25 EU leaders will be called upon to deal with the crisis that has erupted over the double No to the EU Constitution.

    In a letter sent to the European leaders, Mr Juncker pointed out that the ratification of the Constitutional Treaty would be discussed on the first day of proceedings and also during the working dinner. The main aim would be to adopt a common stance for the future process.

    However, the idea of temporarily freezing the ratification process seems to be prevailing in Brussels, as many top European officials appear in favour of this possibility. The Commissions Vice-President, Gunter Verheugen, was one of the first to point out that the Treaty cannot be implemented in 2007, while the citizens need time to restore the public opinions confidence in Europe. In addition, the President of the Commission asked for a temporary freezing of the European Constitution ratification process, warning of a permanent crisis in the Union, if the EU Constitution does not gain the trust of the people.

    Furthermore, in his letter, Jean Claude Juncker said that the Summit Meeting is taking place during a very tough time for the European completion, while he asked all the leaders for support and collaboration, in order to demonstrate that the EU is working for the benefit of its citizens.

    The big loser of the Summit Meeting will definitely be the Enlargement process, since the conclusions draft makes no mention of that matter. Many of the Member-States wish for a tougher stance against Turkey, while political analysts are predicting a delay in the accession progress of Bulgaria and Romania.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    Related News:

    Summit Meeting at the Focus

    Freezing is a "Consensual Solution"

    [02] EU Constitution and Fiscal Prospects Summit Meeting at the Focus

    15 Jun 2005 13:40:00 (Last updated: 15 Jun 2005 20:42:35)

    By Anna Kourti

    The Brussels Summit Meeting, which begins tomorrow, was at the focus of the meeting this morning at Maximos Mansion. Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis and Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Petros Moliviatis, and Economy, Giorgos Alogoskoufis, discussed the EU Constitution and fiscal prospects. After the end of the meeting, Mr Moliviatis stated the Greeces aim is for the fiscal issue to be resolved, while Mr Alogoskoufis sent the message that the cost of the enlargement cannot be paid by the consensual countries, meaning Greece, Portugal and Spain. Earlier, President of the EU and PM of Luxembourg Jean Claude Juncker declared almost certain that a solution cannot be reached, due to the dead-end created by the matter of the British rebates to the EU Budget, however, he asked for the efforts on achieving a solution for the new Budget to continue.

    "Difficult Political Extensions"

    Moreover, Mr Alogoskoufis noted that the difficult political extensions that have been created by the results of the French and Dutch referendums, and which affect the negotiations over the fiscal prospects of the EU, since the most developed countries will not accept an EU Budget larger than 1% of the GDP, something that will constitute an important decrease in relation to the current status. On the subject of the review of the Common Agricultural Policy, which Great Britain is seeking, the Minister of Economy stated, "it is extremely difficult for a negotiation that has been completed to recommence."

    Mr Moliviatis expressed the hope that the issue of community funds will be resolved in the Summit Meeting, adding that there is a great difficulty because the EU Budget is decreasing and the countries increasing.

    EU Constitution Process to Continue

    In the meantime, the two-day Summit will be taking place under the shadow of the French and Dutch No.

    The President of the Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, who asked for a temporary freezing of the European Constitution ratification process, warned of a permanent crisis in the EU if the European Constitution fails. Meanwhile, he urged the 25 EU leaders to aim at a compromise and to proceed with reviewing the EU Budget towards the end of 2008. As far as Greece is concerned, government spokesperson Thodoros Roussopoulos appeared in favour of continuing the ratification process for the EU Constitution, saying, "We believe that the process should continue, taking into consideration, naturally, the two negative referendums."

    Papandreou Launches Attack

    During his partys Parliamentary group meeting, PASOK President George Papandreou launched a harsh attack against the Government, while he accused Mr Karamanlis of "negotiating using communication tricks," and arriving at the Summit "unprepared", as was the case with the main shareholder and the fiscal inventory.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    Related News:

    Battle in Brussels

    [03] Freezing is a "Consensual Solution"

    15 Jun 2005 12:50:00 (Last updated: 15 Jun 2005 22:03:39)

    By Tina Valaoura

    President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso asked for the temporary deferment of the EU Constitution ratification procedure after the French and Dutch 'No'. "Maybe consensus is the best solution," said Barroso in an interview to French television network France 3, noting, "Even if no one can say that the EU Constitution has died," it is clear that European Unity does not inspire voters anymore. Furthermore, in a Press conference he gave on Wednesday afternoon in Brussels, the President of the Commission spoke of a period for contemplation and a deceleration of the ratification process for the EU Constitution. At the same time he underlined that if there is agreement over the fiscal affairs, the EU would prove that it can move ahead, despite any difficulties.

    There is no "Magical Solution"

    "I would advise a temporary pause of the ratification procedure, with the main conditions, during the interim, being financial development and employment," underlined the President of the Commission, stating that the EU does not have an alternative "plan B" or any kind of "magical solution" to proceed differently. It is noted that a similar view was expressed by European officials, such as Commission Vice President G&#252;nter Verheugen and British PM Tony Blair, while the Luxembourg Presidency said it is investigating the event. On the other hand, France and Germany insist on the continuation of the procedure.

    Referring to the matter of the EU Budget, which seems to be troubling the 25 EU leaders, Mr Barroso made a plea for national egotisms to be overcome, stressing that this crisis may be converted into an opportunity. Finally, mentioning the problem of the so-called British cheque, he declared that Europe is not in 1984 anymore, while the cost of Enlargement would have to be shared equally among the Member-States.

    However, Mr Barroso mentioned that it would not be wise to tie up any EU funds until 2013, while he proposed a 7-year agreement, accompanied by a reviewing option until the end of 2008.

    Finally, the President declared that the Commission would not be suggesting a review of the agreements of any Member-States that are due to accede, while he reminded that Europe aims at reuniting the citizens. Finally he called on the leaders to prove that they are politically responsible and mature during the Summit Meeting.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    [04] Ericsson and Napster Alliance From the Internet to your Cell Phone

    15 Jun 2005 16:02:00

    By Mary Lou Tzempelikou

    It could be named as the great alliance of two colossuses for your entertainment. On Wednesday, Ericsson and Napster announced that they are uniting their powers in order to supply cell phone users music services on the Internet. Thus, music and cell phone lovers can download their favorite songs from the Internet and store them in their phone and following listen to them. This service will be available either by subscription or by a la carte, while its inventors believe that it will be especially popular. The new models of cell phones will make the aforementioned services easier and speedier to the user. Initially, the service will be available in Europe, while shortly it will expand in Asia and North and South America.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    Related Links:



    [05] Over the Social Security of Banks Strikes Continue

    15 Jun 2005 15:08:00 (Last updated: 15 Jun 2005 21:44:51)

    By Vicky Keleri

    Today, OTOE is staging a new 48-hour strike, while three-hour work stoppages have been announced for tomorrow by GSEE, ADEDY and DEKOs, reacting to the government reforms over the bank employees social security. A protest rally has been scheduled on Sina Street for 1pm. Work stoppages will also take place in Public Transport. More specifically, trolley buses will stop from 13:00 to 15:00, the metro from 11:00 to 15:00, and the trains from 12:00 to 15:00, while the employees in the suburban railway from 12:00 to 22:00. The bus employees will participate in a strike from the beginning of their shift until 07:00 and from 22:00 until the end of their shift. Due to the ADEDY mobilisations, schools will be closed for the last three hours of the morning shift and the fisrt three hours of the afternoon shift. The trams will operate as normal, since its employees decided to not participate in the strike.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    [06] Economy and 4th CFS at the Focus Alogoskoufis Briefs the President

    15 Jun 2005 16:32:00

    By Vagelis Theodorou

    The problematic consultations over the EU Budget and especially the 4th Community Support Framework were at the focus of the discussions between the Minister of Republic, Karolos Papoulias and Minister of Economy, Giorgos Alogoskoufis. Moreover, Mr Alogoskoufis briefed the President over the state of the Greek economy, the aims of the government and the reforms being advanced. "We are facing some difficulties, however there are many opportunities for the economy and we have to take advantage of them," answered the Minister to Mr Papoulias that welcomed him whilst stating that the situation is difficult. Upon his exit from the Presidential Mansion, the Minister noted that after the Olympic Games, the economy, inflation and growth are being developed much better than some expected. Also he expressed his concern over the French and Dutch "No" and the Greek governments desire for the 2007-2013 EU Budget to wrap up in the Summit Meeting, on Thursday and Friday, in Brussels.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    [07] New Appeals Court Inaugurated in Kalamata No Room for Corruption

    15 Jun 2005 19:05:00

    By Despina Hristopoulou

    Sources: ANA - NET

    Justice Minister Anastasis Papaligouras appeared determined to get to the bottom of the matter and stamp out any cases of corrupt judges. Speaking from Kalamata, where he attended the inauguration ceremony of the new Appeals Court, he declared, "I will perform my duty and I will fulfill my obligations." The Minister was referring to the accusations against the Supreme Court Deputy Justice and President of the Judges and Prosecutors Union, Achilleas Zisis. According to allegations, the judicial officer had constructed a holiday home using money given to him by a businessman, who was implicated in the 1999 Stock Exchange scandal.

    Getting to the Bottom of the Matter

    During his speech, Mr Papaligouras stressed, "Greek Justice has proven and has been proving recently that it has the will and strength to protect itself, expelling from its midsts any corrupt judges who had converted the administration of Justice into a personal and illegal transaction. It is the obligation and interest of Justice to proceed with its cleansing, without distinctions or exceptions."

    Barboulia Trial Begins

    The trial of former judicial officer Konstantina Barboulia commenced today in the 3-Member Misdemeanour Court of Appeals. Barboulia is charged with bribery, failure to declare interest in order to be excluded from a case and violation of duty. The case pertains to her actions over a Stock Exchange case, which was assigned to her when she was the 19th Examiner, during the period 2000-2002. Her co-defendant, lawyer Athanasios Varlamis is facing charges of bribery. The trial, which is expected to last for several days, commenced with the testimonies of the businessman and owner of an investment company, Ilias Bogdanos, followed by lawyer Konstantinos Papasarantos.

    Earlier, the prosecutor asked that the trail be postponed, as they are awaiting evidence from the Swiss authorities regarding Barboulias overseas accounts.

    The Swiss authorities have already informed the court that the former judge does not have any accounts under her name, but there is an account in the UBS bank under the name of Barboulias sister, with transactions taking place around the dates in question. However, the account cannot be made public without the consent of Ms Barboulias sister, a procedure that will be time consuming.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    [08] Ongoing Search Sailing Boat Passengers Missing

    15 Jun 2005 18:05:00 (Last updated: 15 Jun 2005 21:12:09)

    By Despina Hristopoulou

    Sources: ΝΕΤ, ΑNA

    The whereabouts of the passengers onboard a sailing boat, under German flag, which was found adrift and abandoned off the coast of the deserted area Lambiri, between Aigio and Patras, remain unknown. Three Port Authority vessels have been scanning the area since this morning to locate possible survivors. Pillango III had run aground, with the engine still running and no sign of any passengers. An Air Force helicopter, which was assisting in the search, landed a little while ago, while the search operation is continuing in the sea. In the meantime, the stranded boat was hauled back to the port of Aigio for safety reasons and is being searched. As per the port police, it is quite possible that the passengers swam ashore when the boat ran aground and failed to notify the authorities. However, as per a Mercantile Marine Ministry announcement, traces of blood were discovered on the deck.

    Furthermore, the internal search revealed that the boat had been on the islands of Paxoi and Corfu on 8 and 10 June respectively, while a cash register receipt for food bought in Nafpaktos on 14 June was also found onboard.

    In addition, other sailors said that they met the Yugoslavian boat owner in Trizinia, who told them that he was sailing for Piraeus in order to meet up with his wife and daughter who were arriving from Germany.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    [09] Multi-Fatality Suicide Attack

    15 Jun 2005 14:56:00

    By Betty Savourdou

    Sources: ANA

    According to Iraqi and military sources, at least 23 Iraqi soldiers lost their lives and 29 injured by a suicide attack that occurred on Wednesday in a restaurant in a military base in Khalis, in Baquba, north of Baghdad. An Iraqi official who did not want to make his name known, stated that the blood bath occurred when a kamikaze dressed as a soldier entered the restaurant at the time when soldiers were having dinner and blasted the explosives he carried. A source in the Baquba hospital stated that 12 injured soldiers were transported there.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    [10] Promising Experiment on Parkinson and Epilepsy They Generated Brain Cells

    15 Jun 2005 13:36:00

    By Mary Lou Tzempelikou

    Sources: BBC

    A revolutionary experiment giving hopes towards treating degenerating disorders, including Parkinsons disease and epilepsy, was conducted in the US McKnight Brain Institute. Scientists have successfully duplicated the generation of new adult brain cells in the lab, using stem cells from mice. They believe that they will soon be able to subject human cells to the same process resulting in generating numerous brain cells. The human cells will then be frozen in order to be used to treat degenerating disorders in the future if needed.

    The researchers employed a technique already known to produce blood cells outside the body. They used immature stem cells from mice, and used chemicals to lead them to maturity. They snapped a series of images of the cells every five minutes with the help of a special microscope, thus creating a short film which depicted the stem cells being turned into adult brain cell (neurons).

    This film enabled the scientists to monitor the physiological changes that take place during the maturation process in full detail.

    Although it was not the first time that stem cells had been turned into brain cells in a lab, the researchers claimed this process had never been replicated to these extent before.

    About a decade ago, the scientists realized that the brain continues to develop small amounts of new cells even in adulthood.

    What is encouraging about this research is that it proved that brain cells can be normally developed outside their usual environment, the brain.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    [11] Law's Bizarre Ways Lucky Offender

    15 Jun 2005 12:54:00

    By Mary Lou Tzempelikou

    Maybe German roads are considered one of the best and German Traffic Police one of the strictest, but if you are a motorcyclist and a speed lover there is no chance that you will be fined as much as you speed. This happens because the cameras that picture you speeding cannot capture the license plates, because motorcycles do not have them in the front! This bizarre fact was taken advantage by a German motorcyclist who radars located speeding at 250 km; double the allowed limit. However, the Branderburg police cannot locate him, as they do not know who owns the motorcycle.

    Car Drivers Miss Out

    According to the police the unknown offender broke the speed limit with a motorcycle in a road, and achieving a record, which he cannot brag about since due to the circumstances he has to remain unknown. The ones that will miss out are car drivers as the radar can photograph the license plate. Thus, after the cameras catch them in action, following a fine is sent out to them. If they are true lovers of speed and breaking the law they have to rethink and take up their favorite sport with a motorcycle.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

    [12] 'No' to Sewage Sludge

    15 Jun 2005 17:30:00 (Last updated: 15 Jun 2005 22:14:43)

    By Vicky Keleri

    During an Ano Liossia Municipal Council meeting, which ended a little while ago, the Council decided not to accept the proposal by Public Works Minister Giorgos Souflias for the transfer of sewage sludge from Psitallia to the Ano Liossia refuse dump. In the meantime, the Intra-Municipal Committee convened today, while the Western Attica Struggle Committee will meet tomorrow to discuss the Public Works Ministers proposal for the sewage sludge. The Public Works Minister criticised the municipal decision, saying, "Now that we have finally found a solution to an age-old problem, some are being inflexible," while he clarified, "The only thing left to be done is to apply the law."

    "The Law Will Be Applied"

    Giorgos Souflias added that no citizens and no group of citizens have the right to harm society with their decisions and actions. As he noted, extensive talks over the matter were held, a friendly solution for the environment was proposed, while there was a commitment that the sewage sludge would be transferred until December.

    However, as per the Minister, some people are being inflexible now.

    "The only thing left to be done is to apply the law," concluded Mr Souflias.

    Earlier, the municipality threatened that they would close off the dump again, if the Government does not assume its responsibilities concerning the permanent removal of the refuse dump and the non-creation of a solid waste sanitary landfill (HYTA) in western Attica.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    Related News:

    Deadline for Sewage Sludge

    [13] Inquiry Against G. Protogerakis Turkey Case to the Prosecutor

    15 Jun 2005 16:26:00

    By Despina Hristopoulou

    Sources: ΝΕΤ, ΝΕΤ 105.8

    Athens Prefect Giannis Sgouros handed over to the Director of Athens Prosecutions the case involving the distribution of 15 tonnes of turkey contaminated with salmonella, during Christmas 2004. The contaminated meat had been imported to Greece from Canada last October. Mr Sgouros established that the Director of the Prefectures Veterinary Department had not informed his superiors immediately, in order to locate the specific batch, and as a result it was distributed to the market. The Athens Prefect ordered a Sworn Administrative Inquiry against the Director of the Veterinary Department, G. Protogerakis, while he asked that the Public Administration General Inspector also be investigated.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    [14] Developments in the Samina Trial

    15 Jun 2005 16:00:00

    By Vicky Keleri

    New accusations against the crew of Samina Express came to light during the third day of testimonies by prosecution witnesses in the trial for the tragic shipwreck, which resulted in the death of 81 people. The testimony of survivor Dimitra Kastani was extremely enlightening, as she was the first witness to confirm that crew members, including the First Engineer, were seen onboard the lifeboat immediately after the crash. In addition, the rest of the witnesses also attributed responsibilities to the ship owning company, the crew, as well as the State.

    Translated by Vicky Ghionis

    Related News:

    Prosecution Witnesses to the Stand

    [15] Emergency Helicopter Landing

    15 Jun 2005 14:28:00

    By Anna Kourti

    A military helicopter, specifically an Augusta Bell 206, made an emergency landing in the area of Thermi. According to information, the pilot of the helicopter detected a problem in the engine and was forced to land in an agricultural area in Thermi. Two army officials, the copilot and the engineer were also aboard the helicopter that had taken off from SEDES military airport for a test flight. The helicopter belongs to the 3rd Army Helicopter Unit in Alexandreia, Imathia, and was at SEDES for a routine check, since it had completed the prerequisite flight hours. Experts of the army are at the area and are trying to conclude the causes that cause the problem in the engine.

    Translated by Eirene Nisiriou

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